Ipswich Knights captain Jack Cabassi. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Knights captain Jack Cabassi. Picture: Cordell Richardson

How footballers pushing through isolation barrier

THE Ipswich Knights are "pushing" ahead in their quest to play Football Queensland Premier League matches again this season.

Even their warrior coach Andy Ogden is keeping pace in the fitness challenges that are keeping the players focused.

Knights captain Jack Cabassi was encouraged how his FQPL teammates and the club's under-20 footballers were working hard and sharing ideas during the coronavirus shutdown.

Apart from their own individual training, the players are engaged in a weekly push-up challenge.

"It's good. A lot of the boys are floating between the 55 and 70 mark (a minute),'' Cabassi said.

"One of the 20's boys got 69 the other day.''

Cabassi is averaging about 63 push-ups a minute.

Coach and former Coalstars player Ogden is managing at least 50 push-ups a minute, earning praise, with a touch of scepticism, from his skipper.

"He's a bit surprising. His form is questionable,'' Cabassi joked.

The fun banter aside, Cabassi appreciated his teammates and head coach stepping up, using the Strava app to record and compare results.

The club captain said the Knights players were keeping in touch through WhatsApp and Facebook, hoping the 2020 season could resume at some stage.

"We're trying to keep in contact as much as we can within reason,'' Cabassi said.


Jack Cabassi
Jack Cabassi

The Knights won two of their first four FQPL games this season before the call was made to stop.

"What I know is that Football Queensland is going to make an announcement in late May about what's happening,'' Cabassi said.

While the future remains unclear, he said talk of possibly resuming in August and finishing before Christmas was positive.

"We'd definitely love to restart and make the off-season the pre-season for next year, which could be beneficial,'' Cabassi said.

"I would like the football to start up but also the players have access to gyms to be able to do a strength program while playing.

"It's all well and good putting in the hard yards, putting your body through stress but if you can't do your squats, your strength side of things . . . a lot of people like the prevention side

of things to go along with football.''


Ipswich Knights Japanese recruit Sho Otsuka.
Ipswich Knights Japanese recruit Sho Otsuka.

Cabassi has been doing workouts with the Knights Japanese midfielder and housemate Sho Otsuka.

"I've been doing a lot of home workouts with pull-ups, chin-ups . . . just trying to keep the body in the best possible way,'' Cabassi said.

"It helps having Sho at home living with me. He's over from Japan.

"We always push each other.

"We're just waiting for those social distancing restrictions to lift a little bit so we can catch up in smaller groups.

"It's been tough but getting through it.''

Having a forced break has also helped some key Knights players undertake injury rehabilitation.

They include number one goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg (rib damage), Ben Taylor (ankle) and Lucky Joe (knee).

Cabassi was confident the trio would be ready to play if a restart was given the green light in coming months.

The ever-professional captain has plenty to keep him busy in the meantime.

Having completed his teaching qualifications, Cabassi is about to start working on developing learning at home opportunities for students at the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.